NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 16, 2006

President Bush's plan to hire new Border Patrol agents and send National Guard troops to the southern border raises a host of questions, says USA Today. Here are three questions and answers about Bush's new proposal:

How many Border Patrol agents are there now?

  • When Bush took office, there were roughly 9,000 agents, and by the end of October 2006 there will be 12,300.
  • Bush is asking Congress to pay for 6,000 more agents over the next two years -- doubling the size of the Border Patrol since 2001.

Why is Bush sending the National Guard troops to the southern border and what will they do?

  • Those troops, to be initially deployed for one year, will help the overwhelmed Border Patrol until the new agents are hired and trained.
  • They will not apprehend or arrest illegal immigrants. Instead, they'll operate surveillance systems, analyze intelligence, install fences and build patrol roads.

What about the northern border? The overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants are Mexicans who flood across the southern border; but security experts and intelligence officials are just as concerned -- if not more so -- about terrorists coming across the border with Canada.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), said Bush should "immediately" deploy troops to the northern border as well. P.J. Crowley, a former Clinton administration official, agreed. "If we need to secure the border against al-Qaeda infiltration, it is the wrong border," he said. "There are far more al-Qaeda sympathizers in Canada than Mexico."

Source: Mimi Hall, "Guard troops to have a limited role," USA Today, May 16, 2006.


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